After a sluggish start to the 2017 campaign, the West Holmes Lady Knights volleyball team appears to have turned a corner. With a 25-23, 25-19, 25-19 three-game victory over Orrville (9-5) on Thursday, Sept. 28 at West Holmes High School to improve to 8-9, the timing couldn’t be much better as the second season of tournament play draws near.
While the Lady Knights seem to be peaking after a sluggish start, Moore said the team is not a finished product by any means.
“I think we are on the ups, but I don’t think we are peaking yet,” Moore said. “We are gaining confidence. They are making better decisions, and they are trusting themselves more and paying a lot more free.”
Against Orrville, West Holmes had to be on top of its game, and for the most part, a fierce serving attack and some consistent play led to positive things for the Lady Knights.
And after getting up early, Moore said it was extremely important for her team to find the mental toughness to put away the Red Riders quickly.
“It was really important because I felt that our energy wasn’t there. The vibes felt kind of flat, so I knew any more than three, it was going to be a rocky road,” Moore said. “But the girls really held their composure. I think I am more nervous than they are any given time. It was really important for us to get out in three because they are a scrappy, competitive team.”
The Red Riders and Lady Knights went at it tooth and nail in game one with neither team taking advantage of any chance to seize control. Eventually the score was tied at 23 before Emily Anderson dinked a fake set across the net for a score, and the Lady Knights ended it with a block.
Game two was similar in that the two teams clawed their way to an 18-18 tie, but West Holmes grabbed control late, getting a Lauren Park kill, a follow-up service ace, a Megan Jones block and a Reagan Wilcox dink into no-man’s land to pull away.
Game three saw the Lady Knights pull out to a big lead, but the Red Riders came storming back to make things interesting, only to see West Holmes again take care of business down the stretch.
It was yet another game in which the Lady Knights were able to put it all together late in contests in competitive games to grab a three-game win, and that is encouraging to Moore.
“We stayed mentally engaged,” Moore said, “but there were times when Orrville came back, like that third set when they tied it up twice, and I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh.’ The girls were like, ‘Coach, this is fine. We’re good.’ At that point a couple games ago, we probably would have crumbled and lost the set, but they totally rallied together, and that is part of the mental toughness.”